The number of physical prototypes must be reduced to meet the challenging time and cost constraints imposed by aggressive vehicle programs. New vehicle designs, especially EVs, are far from traditional vehicle designs and must be ready to meet evolving regulations. Vehicle designers must engineer new concepts faster while proposing innovative solutions to answer e-mobility challenges. This represents a significant roadblock for design teams who must adopt new digital methodologies while meeting or exceeding performance requirements.

The introduction of battery compartments in electric vehicles requires the use of new simulation processes to predict the impact of design decisions on final product performance. The battery's impact on total vehicle weight, mass distribution, and crash response must comply with recent and rapidly evolving battery safety regulations. The need to fulfill market demand for increased EV range, without compromising passenger thermal or acoustic comfort, creates additional design considerations. Acoustic challenges arise from the need for interior sound packages to meet brand, weight, and noise comfort specifications. Accurate assessment of noise contributions from sources such as powertrain, air induction, and exhaust systems are key for the accurate prediction of interior noise.

To meet these demands, engineers must move away from traditional iterative 'design - test - fix' processes and deploy digital solutions, earlier in the design cycle, to control the risks associated with innovation. Using the most advanced simulation methodology, Virtual Prototyping, engineers can replace physical tests with virtual alternatives, speeding up the development process and anticipating potential issues earlier in their development cycle, thereby counterbalancing the risk associated with innovation.

To comply with country-specific regulations, automotive OEMs must adopt a development cycle that can accurately evaluate a design's performance quickly and adjust to new expectations as these regulations evolve.

The deployment of a Single Core Model provides a cost and time-effective means of accurately modeling different vehicle performance aspects. ESI's Virtual Performance Solution offers a uniform environment to assess and virtually qualify a design long before a single physical validation prototype is built. Challenging tests such as small overlap frontal crashes are accurately rendered, including structural deformations and fractures for newer composite or mixed materials structures and traditional steel constructions. Airbag designs can be virtually engineered, and EVs assessed for battery-critical water crossing & water intrusion tests along with battery crash simulation.

Vibro-acoustic simulation ensures that exterior and interior noise is evaluated early in the design cycle to meet pedestrian safety and exterior noise regulations. Trim variants can be analyzed in the concept phase in minutes rather than days to meet occupant acoustic comfort targets while reducing interventions late in the design cycle.

The Benefits of Full Vehicle Design

  • Avoid over-engineering by identifying the right lightweight materials from the start
  • Support removal of lead times linked to prototypes or test facilities availability, giving instantaneous global access of virtual prototypes to the entire supply chain worldwide
  • Virtually assess complex validation tests for new vehicles: water crossing, airbags, regulatory crash tests (battery, comfort, sound insulation). Unleash innovation by exploring an unlimited number of variations and then making the right trade-off between domains
  • Harness high-performance computing and multi-scale modeling to reduce calculation time, making it possible to test more variants, minimizing the inherent risks of innovative concepts
  • Enjoy a single virtual environment to run all simulations in all domains, free of time-consuming and error-inducing model conversions and data transfers between partially compatible third-party solutions

COCTEL: a Dedicated Simulation Platform to Model and Optimize Electric Drivelines using Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)

With the support of the Investment for the Future program (PIA) carried out by the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME), the COCTEL project was designed to accelerate the development of electric drivelines, whilst securing profitability margins for automotive OEMs and their suppliers.

Between 2014 – 2019, Renault worked with industrial partners ESI Group and Knowledge Inside, as well as academic partners Ecole Centrale de Lille (L2EP), Université de Valenciennes (TEMPO), Université de Rennes and SUPELEC (LGEP, FEMTO, G2ELAB).

Their collaboration resulted in the creation of a dedicated COCTEL application in ESI’s simulation platform, giving access to models of every component of an electric engine, and able to optimize designs automatically according to multiple physics and multiple objectives ─ including economic ones.

Promoting Model Identity Cards (MIC) using a common language, the COCTEL app fosters inter-disciplinary collaboration. System engineers benefit from advanced search functionalities including model parameters, so that existing models can be easily found, collaboratively improved, and reused to save time and effort.

The platform suits product development at industrial scale, following an integrated simulation process development specific to electric powertrains. Future developments aim to enable the steering of the organs and the supervision of the entire electric driveline system. Finally, it brings in capabilities for the characterization of materials, and the evaluation of their behavior, so engineer can pick lightweight, innovative options without compromising safety.

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